Today, the Ontario Energy Board (the Board) issued a letter inviting interested parties to participate in a consultation on farm stray voltage.The consultation is in response to a Directive from the Ministry of Energy requiring the Board to implement such measures the Board considers necessary to address the issue of stray voltage as it affects the farm sector.
Electric current can flow through the soil close to where power lines or electrical equipment of any kind is grounded to the earth. Most often, the voltage level of this 'earth current' is too low to be felt by people or animals. 'Stray voltage' refers to earth current found beyond the area where it is normally expected, at voltage levels high enough to be detected.
A Farm Stray Voltage Consultative Group consisting of representatives of farm customers (Ontario Federation of Agriculture), electricity distributors (Electricity Distributors Association, Hydro One Networks, Waterloo North Hydro), government agencies (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Electrical Safety Authority and Ontario Ministry of Energy) and other stakeholder groups experienced in some aspect of stray voltage and its effects on farm operations will be formed.
All interested parties will be invited to attend a meeting tentatively scheduled for November 2007, at which Board staff will present its preliminary findings. Comments provided at this meeting will be taken into account by Board staff in the preparation of a farm stray voltage discussion paper.
The staff discussion paper will be issued for written comment in mid-December 2007, with comments to be received by mid-January 2008. The Board will then determine what measures should be implemented to address the stray voltage issue identified in the Directive.
The Board encourages participation in this consultation process by all interested parties. For information on how to participate please visit the Board's web site at www.oeb.gov.on.ca.